Yogi Adityanath govt to tap corporate funds for development projects

The Yogi Adityanath government will tap the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) funds for development projects under the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) scheme.

Adityanath has asked officials to channelise corporate funds under CSR for the ongoing projects under AMRUT Yojana. He has directed for convening an early meeting with the representatives of corporate entities and banks to take this agenda forward.

The UP government is of the firm opinion that the proposal to harness CSR purse would encourage the private sector companies to partner with the state for projects aimed at socio-economic development. This would not only help the cash-strapped Adityanath government to provide funds for projects, but also build bridges with the private sector companies in the backdrop of the state working hard to translate the investment proposals received at the UP Investors Summit 2018.

AMRUT scheme was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in June 2015 for creating robust sewage networks and water supply infrastructure for urban transformation by launching a string of revival projects. The Adityanath government had provided Rs 22 billion for projects under the AMRUT scheme, which covers 60 UP towns.

Adityanath was reviewing projects under various schemes including AMRUT even as he directed the urban development department to speed up works under this central government scheme. Adityanath also stressed that the participation of elected representatives should be ensured apart from tapping corporate funds resources.

This is the second instance when the Adityanath government is seeking corporate funds for development projects. Earlier, the state had planned to utilise the CSR purse for its proposed 100 metre tall Lord Ram statue on the banks of Saryu in the temple town of Ayodhya. The government has offered about 85 tourism projects totalling Rs 27 billion across 10 major towns, including Varanasi and Gorakhpur, to companies looking to contribute funds out of their mandatory CSR spend. Apart from the Lord Ram statue, which is estimated to cost Rs 3.3 billion, the corporate funds are also being eyed for the proposed development of New Ayodhya near Saryu river. This project is estimated to cost Rs 3.5 billion.

In fact, the Adityanath government had published a special tourism booklet detailing the various proposed projects on offer under the CSR. The booklet was also distributed among the participants at the Investors Summit 2018 in Lucknow on 21-22 February this year, where the state covered investment proposals totalling to Rs 4.68 trillion in different sectors.

With 2019 Lok Sabha elections less than a year away, the state government would be rather liberal in expending towards development projects having a direct bearing on voters. This would, however, leave the state with little financial leeway for the remaining projects. In this regard, CSR funds are expected to fill the gap.

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